Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a pretty big Steps fan.
While I didn’t fly over to Europe to see their live shows last year, I was excited to learn we would get a chance to relive it through a live album and DVD of the show.
So after many years away from large tours, how does their latest concert stack up to those from the pop stars of today?
Firstly, it’s very clear that a huge influence of this show are some of Kylie’s biggest tours (no surprises there, given long-time Kylie collaborator Steve Anderson’s hands are all over it).
An epic and frankly dramatic overture to kick things off sets up a high standard before launching into an energetic version of comeback single “Scared Of The Dark.”
As the first song of the show, you’d hope the vocals were tight and thankfully they are. The girls all sound stunning, Claire setting her vocals on fire from the first chorus. The boys are there too and while on backing vocal duties for this song, you can actually hear Lee for once (he’s hard to pick out on the studio versions of many songs) and he sounds absolutely fantastic.
As the rest of the concert continues on, we are treated to multiple hits (some in medley format) and songs from their latest album. There’s a couple covers thrown in for good measure (though why they included ‘Despacito’ is beyond me), but overall it’s a great set list.
There are some missed opportunities for solo moments (who wouldn’t want to hear Lisa go for ‘Too Far Gone’ or H & Claire smash out ‘All Out Of Love’?) and a few of the better album tracks from ‘Tears On The Dancefloor’ missed out.
Someone whose energy is constantly appearing is H’s with his regular whoops. While fun on the night, they never translate well on live albums. That being said, you can tell the crowd really enjoyed the concert.
With Claire’s vocals sounding as flawless as ever, Faye’s harmonies adding great dimension, Lisa adding that pop spark and Lee carrying the lower end of the songs, everything sounds amazing.
I’m impressed by Lisa and Lee’s vocals in particular as they aren’t normally the strongest vocalists but they both sound pretty spectacular (or should that be ‘Steptacular’) on this recording.
Other highlights on the live album include the pure energy of ‘Stomp’ (once you get past the completely unnecessary cover of ‘If You Could Read My Mind’), ‘It’s The Way You Make Me Feel’ and ‘Neon Blue’.
The only real change I’d make? I wish they had edited out some of the chat on the CD as it makes for a slightly disconnected listen from start to finish.
It’s surprising that a pop group like Steps have lasted 20 years, particularly in the cutthroat world of pop.
This is a great addition to any pop music fans’ collection and is a reminder of why those like myself continue to flock to Steps shows and play their music all these years later.
VERDICT : 4/5.
MUST LISTEN : Scared Of The Dark, Stomp.